By John Kennedy – Palm Beach Post Capital Bureau
TALLAHASSEE — Five years after Gov. Rick Scott scaled back Florida’s growth laws, massive development projects are underway across the state, boosting employment and tax collections but also sparking fears of traffic-choked roads and environmental calamities.
Palm Beach County’s unincorporated western area is the site of almost 14,000 new homes planned in coming years, spread across four new communities, including Westlake, whose developers want to make it the county’s 39th city.
But similar, multi-thousand-acre projects are also in the works this spring across remote stretches of scrub and wetland – virtually in every corner of Florida.
Such mega-projects as Babcock Ranch,Plum Creek, Lake Pickett and Deseret Ranch, are poised to add thousands of houses, millions of feet of commercial space and swell the state’s population through the next decade by converting vast amounts of rural land.